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21 Listening Maps for Music Classes that Students Will Love

Listening maps for music are perfect to teach elementary students about melodic contour, texture, form, style, and other elements of music.

Do you need more ways to integrate more Classical music into your elementary music classroom? Listening maps are perfect to engage elementary music students and help them understand melodic contour, texture, form, style, and other elements of music.

Listening maps also help students learn about the instruments of the orchestra and band.

Online LIstening Maps for Elementary Music | Distance Learning, Blended Learning, or Classroom

Versatile Listening Maps May Be Used for Multiple Grade Levels

Listening maps are easy for teachers to assign and students to complete in the classroom, for homeschool, flipped learning, or blended learning. For accountability, students can write a short reflection, answer a few simple questions about the piece, or even create their own listening map for another short piece.

Share this post to help other elementary music teachers find these quality listening maps. Enjoy!

Note: Not all of these listening maps are in English and that’s okay. The music and graphic representations transcend the small amount of language.

Types of Listening Maps

We have classified these listening maps into 5 basic categories. Each category focuses on a different aspect of music.

  • Instrumental Focus
  • Graphic Listening Maps – Melody
  • Graphic Listening Maps – Texture
  • Form
  • Style

Students already see A LOT of animation for entertainment. For the most part, they ignore the music in this type of video. For this reason, I do not use animated, entertainment-only listening maps in the classroom.

Below you will find several different examples of the other types of listening maps you may want to use in your elementary music classroom.

Listening Maps with an Instrumental Focus

The following listening maps highlight the instruments in each piece. This helps students learn the tone color and timbre of the instruments of the orchestra and band.

In the Mood, Glen Miller

YouTube video

Fanfare of the Common Man, Aaron Copland

YouTube video

Theme from Star Wars, John Williams

YouTube video

Guide to the Orchestra, Britten

YouTube video

Graphic Listening Maps – Melody

These graphic listening maps are some of our favorites. They fall into two basic subcategories – melody and texture. The melody listening maps follow the melodic contour while the texture maps are a visual representation of all of the notes. Both types help students make sense of what they’re hearing.

Morning (Peer Gynt), Grieg

YouTube video

Cello Suite #1, Bach

YouTube video

Ode to Joy, from Symphony #9, Beethoven

YouTube video

Graphic Listening Maps – Texture

These graphic listening maps are also among our favorites! They help students identify the melodic and harmonic lines. The concept of texture becomes visual as well as auditory. These visual representations make it easy for students to identify thick or thin textures.

Moonlight Sonata, Beethoven

YouTube video

Clair de Lune, Debussy

YouTube video

Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy, Tchaikovsky

YouTube video

Aquarium (Carnival of the Animals), SaintSaëns 

YouTube video

William Tell Overture, Rossinni

YouTube video

Symphony #5, Beethoven

YouTube video

Tocatta & Fugue in D Minor, Bach

YouTube video


Listening maps also make it easy to identify the form of a piece. When students see visual representations of sections of a piece that contrast or repeat, the form becomes less abstract and much easier to understand.

3 Little Birds, Bob Marley

YouTube video

The Elephant (Carnival of the Animals), SaintSaëns

YouTube video

Theme from “The Pink Panther”, Henry Mancini

YouTube video

Listening Maps – Style

Pairing music with visual representations makes it easier to identify styles as well. Listening maps help students to describe the character of the piece with adjectives such as smooth, connected, short, disconnected, etc.

It’s fun to compare and contrast two different listening maps of the same piece of music. This post includes two different listening maps of the Star Wars Theme.

Star Wars Theme, John Williams

YouTube video

Blue Danube, Strauss

YouTube video

Fade, Alan Walker

YouTube video

Ride of the Valkyries, Wagner

YouTube video


Classical music DEFINITELY still has a place in the elementary music classroom. Add a variety of styles of music and types of listening maps to your elementary music lesson plans. This will help appeal to the varied interests of your students and widen their repertoire and knowledge base.

Listening maps are a great way to introduce your students to music they would not hear otherwise.

Share this post to help other elementary music teachers find these quality listening maps.

Other Elementary Music Activities

Meet the Author

Terri Lloyd is a former elementary music teacher with over 25 years of experience. She holds a Bachelor of Music, a Master of Science in Education, and a Technology Certificate in Instructional Design.

She is currently active in music education through blogging, workshops, and curriculum development. She serves on the music staff at her church and volunteers for an after-school children’s program. Terri is an active musician in the community, performing in a local Big Band, pit orchestras, and various events.

More Ways to Connect – Instagram, Facebook, YouTube.

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